This weeks prep course focused on a sort of anger management that often went hand in hand with familial relations. So Nate & Janace spoke on the development of a Negative Emotion Response Plan and their tactics for ‘saving a marriage’ when the disagreements start to rain down. They were another seemingly unlikely couple, which I think has become sort of my favorite thing about this whole learning process. Today, we had to go around the room and state our favorite dates that we’ve shared with each other, which sparked some interesting discussions.
While my partner voted for a KU basketball game (shared with none other than my dad and uncle), I voted for a crazy day we had shared back in California at Sea World. We were theme park magnets that day…we were there for a ‘deal’…we had gotten in with a AAA discount and were ready to have some ‘bargain’ fun. So when we walked through the gate and saw a small stand for wristbands that would get you ‘unlimited’ food for the whole day, you can imagine what we did. I have never eaten so much in my life. The both of us had multiple sandwiches, hamburgers, ice creams, cheesecakes, and popcorn. It was complete junk. But we couldn’t stop because it was ‘free’ and we were getting a deal. I’ll never forget that evening back at his parents place when we lay down facing each other because we were exaughisted and our bellies touched. I laughed so hard I cried, but it hurt because I was so full. I got my favorite Sea World fleece with the wales tale on that expedition, and I will never forget the Shamu show.
But anyhow, this couple was hilarious. He was very slow to speak…she spoke so fast that I barely caught half of her words. They described a time when there was a huge argument and how it was handled. They were living in Scotland and she had found American ‘corny dogs’ at the store they had to walk to and had brought them back to the house with the great anticipation of serving them for dinner the next night. Her husband hadn’t heard these very specific instructions and ate them all the next day while she was in the classroom. It was great to see this man shuffle even to this day when recounting the story. He even went so far as to say that he still won’t eat ‘corny dogs’ because they are a flash back….you know, like ‘back in ‘Nam.’ They proceeded to refer to the times that we will be so angry we’re crazy in the future as ‘corny dog nuts.’
But here is the best part. We weren’t given much verbal instruction about In-laws. Instead, I was given the following synopsis on a sheet. Good grief! Could this be any more dramatic? Are we supposed to approach this relationship with loving arms held out or weapons? You be the judge!!
V. Thought and Principles About In-Laws
A. The person who causes most of these conflicts is unfortunately the mother of the groom. On study suggests that she typically initiates as much trouble as all the other in-laws together.
B. The primary victim of interference is the daughter-in-law. Often the mother of the groom is jealous of her daughter-in-law for dividing the affection of her son and tries to win back the central position in his life by alienating him from his wife.
C. Competition and conflict between these two women reaches its most violent form when they have to live together in the same house.
D. Child-raising is frequently an area in which the mother-in-law interferes
E. A mother-in-law who acts in these ways can be very troublesome, but she deserves your pity more than your hostility. What she really needs is the love of those around her, but since she seems unable to get it she tries instead to gain her ends by manipulation and intrigue. Unfortunately, she usually does not realize that she is completely defeating her own purpose.